By: Wayne Bryan
***Please note: this is a copy of a letter sent by Wayne Bryan, father and coach of the Bryan twins, who lead the doubles world ranking. He is also a very successful coach and speaker. It is a must read for anyone who really cares about the direction of the sport.***
Thanks for the article… nothing that you and number of us hasn’t said before or won’t continue to say. I think marginalized is a very descriptive word as to how many of us coaches feel, when players are basically coerced and bribed to become a part of PD. You are the head of the spear that has energized many of us who individually felt their voice wouldn’t be listened to. Thanks for your passion and all the time and effort you put into this endeavor. I know it comes straight from your heart and how much it means to you to make sure our American kids can reach their full potential.
Wayne… thanks for sharing.
Paul “Mac” gets It… sadly our Pat “Mac” doesn’t. Heck… they don’t even have a shot by hiring the right people that could develop a player.
$20 million a year could go a long way to help aspiring young talent work with passionate “top notch”… private player development coaches around the country.
In my opinion, McNamee is exactly, as you said, spot on with his comments on the Aussie Player Development Program. He is also, spot on for the British Player Development Program, and, in my opinion, the USTA Player Development Program.
In fact, it seems to me that whenever the National Tennis Associations begin mandating programs from the National Office, and hiring people to run things and set up systems, things go downhill.
I am very familiar with the British system and its total failure. Britain has piled multi millions of pounds into Junior Development over the last 40+ years with no success.
The late great Arthur Roberts, who, on 4 covered courts in the small English seaside town of Torquay in Southwest England, produced a Wimbledon Champion(Angela Mortimer), a French Open Champion (Sue Barker), a Wimbledon and US Open Men’s Semi Finalist (Mike Sangster), a British National Girls 18 Singles Champion (Corinne Molesworth), a British National Boys 18 Singles Champion (Gordon Mudge), and others, used to tell parents that when the Lawn Tennis Association comes knocking, lock your kids in the closet.
To my knowledge he was never approached by the LTA to advise them on development, rather he was regarded as a threat. The LTA has never come close to accomplishing what Arthur accomplished.
I feel the National Associations should encourage those local pros who have proven track records in Junior Development and help them financially to help the kids they work with. I’m not sure how that could be done but I am sure there is a way. The USA has so many fine local coaches.
As you say, your small area of California has produced many fine players. You must be doing something right.
The local pros who work with kids from a young age, who get to know the kids, who understand the kids, who know how to experiment with their development, who know how to innovate, who know how to bring out natural talent and not necessarily dictate systems, who go to the tournaments, are the ones who are most successful. Also, too many cooks (coaches) spoil the broth (students).
I look forward to meeting you in Houston.
I will be attending my friend and your friend Tim Heckler’s funeral service this Saturday. I am sad he is gone and grieve for Renee and the family. Tim was a wonderful CEO of our association and worked tirelessly for the pros and the sport. I know he was under a lot of pressure latterly.
It seems like this is following a worldwide pattern in politics and tennis where one entity is taking control of everything. This always in a negative long term effect, but if every tennis nation dumbs down the process then the negative effect will be hidden by everyone performing at lower levels. I am convinced that if some coaches will stick to their guns their players will rise to the top.
Fire it out Wayne… It’s more important to the tennis community and gets more attention if information is coming from you. I send stuff on (I hope you don’t mind), as I know you’re busy traveling and coaching, just in case you haven’t seen it or food for thought on the issues of the times. So please, always feel free to fire away and use what you can. I’m not in it for the credit, I’m in it for the cause.
As a side note on using my name, with my non-profit, I do worry as I do feel some are particularly vindictive in ways of grants, no program support, etc. We’ve all seen what happened to Tim Heckler, Little Mo and so many others so the fear is understandable. But more and more, I’m picking up your attitude of “I don’t really give a damn…”
We should all be able to voice our opinions and share information without fear of retaliation. But having said that, always fire out in your name… I’m good with the assist and want the message to get read.
THANKS for all you do!!!
Administrators and Coaches Must Play the Same Game
Richard Howes, January 27, 2013
Australian tennis has got its development system all wrong…
Tennis Australia’s greatest mistake is not using interested private Australian coaches to develop our top young players of the future.
Instead of a few state or TA paid coaches handling our top young juniors, TA could have nearly every coach in Australia working towards the same goal.
State coaches or regional directors need a car, an iPhone and a basket of balls – not to sit in an office, but be driving the game forward from the courts, assisting players and coaches to train and to take the leading players to tournaments so everyone can work together.
DEVELOPMENT OF YOUNG PLAYERS
For more than 30 years, tennis in Australia has relied on the AIS or state squads to develop our leading players.
The fact that over this period Australia’s top male players, Pat Cash, Pat Rafter, Lleyton Hewitt and now Bernard Tomic have not been a part of such a program must, somehow, reflect on its failure to produce players despite millions being poured into the system.
These champions were developed by private coaches who, in the present system, lose their top players to this system with obvious results.
Australia has some of the best and dedicated coaches in the world. In fact, no matter where you go in the world you will often find an Australian coach in the area.
Even the great Roger Federer was coached in his early days by the late Peter Carter and others such as Tony Roche, Darren Cahill, Roger Rasheed and Jason Stoltenberg continue to be prominent coaches – all of them ex-players, but totally committed to the game.
Why do Australian private coaches fight with TA instead of working together to develop top players? Because very few see the system as working and the results prove that.
Tennis is a business and in any business if you do not produce results, you either change or fail.
Some coaches give up working with good players because they know how much time and effort is involved – and if you’re going to lose your top player anyway, why bother?
The private coaches need to be part of a new system, encouraged to develop players along with dedicated state coaches (not just ex-players looking for a post-circuit job).